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Chatsworth House has long been on Helena Lang’s bucket list of stately homes to visit, and a stay at the estate’s hotel in nearby Baslow gives her the perfect chance...
‘Glancing out of the window of our cosy traditional bedroom at the Cavendish Hotel over the sheep-filled fields below, I spot a pheasant hopping on and off the stone wall surrounding the hotel’s garden, clearly without a care in the world. The pace of life in the snug village of Baslow is much slower than I’m used to in our hectic capital.
The hotel serves breakfast until midday, and after-dinner drinks in the atmospheric lounge-bar go on until late, with guests snuggled into the squashy sofas playing board games and indulging in lively conversation.
For a quick, casual supper, head for the Garden Room, specialising in British classics and simple salads, such as my roasted fig and feta concoction. A more special dining experience is to be had in the Gallery, where you can enjoy a sumptuous three-course feast for £52.50, with starters such as Portland crab served with compressed watermelon, while main courses include salt-aged beef sirloin with dauphine potatoes. The hot chocolate fondant with blood orange is a particular triumph.
It being our first time in the Peak District, a hike in the hills isn’t to be missed, and we climb our way through the village up to Baslow Edge. The view from the top, with Chatsworth House (chatsworth.org) spottable in the valley below, is glorious. In the afternoon, we walk through the deer park that surrounds the house and spend a couple of hours admiring the art inside.
A slap-up tea is then in order, and we head for the Chatsworth Farm Shop Café, leaving laden with foodie treasures including pheasant pâté – hopefully not the glorious bird I’d seen earlier that day...’
A standard double or twin with breakfast is £259. Special breaks can be found at cavendish-hotel.net.